Making samples can be a real pain. At Eagle, we make straws. And you would think a straw is a straw, a paper wrap is a paper wrap and printing are printing. You show it to the customer and hope they buy it. We have many customers for whom we custom brand straws. Before they buy, however, they want to see the straw first, in the right diameter, with the right color, with the right paper size, paper length and width and with the right color and print registrations. Several years ago, you could show a customer what your capabilities are (look, 2-color printing), and they would buy it, knowing you could make it. During the great recession, if you want the business, you have to present the finished sample.
I am perfectly comfortable with making the finished sample. What I am amused by is the fact that our finished samples are better than a current supplier’s, and yet, the nitpicking is done on the newer product. I have been told that is why we are being considered for the business, but most people don’t realize that to create a custom sample that is 100% perfect with colors and registration can take up to 20 hours in machine time and labor. And at the end of that, only about 400-500 straws are presentable. All we can do then is hope for the best.